Question: Sir, What is more, important for a fresher, big fat salary, or a stable job?
Acharya Prashant: Neither. What’s your name?
Listener1: Acharya Ji, Taranjay.
AP: Taranjay is asking “What is more important for a fresher, a good salary or a stable job?” Neither. A good salary implies accumulation, A stable job implies fear – “What if this job goes away? What will happen to me?”
Work is life. Out of the fourteen or fifteen hours in a day, when you would not be sleeping, when you would not be doing your daily tasks, you would be spending the majority of your time working. So, if I am awake, fifteen sixteen hours a day, out of that twelve hours or fourteen hours are going to be spent in work-related activities. Do you see this? I am going to spend seventy percent to eighty percent of my life working. Do you see this?
Work is life itself. Work is the most important, most dominant overwhelming component of your life, it will take away all your time. Work is life. And if you do not love your work, then actually you will hate life. Because work is life. You cannot approach work using these considerations, salary, stability, these are very small, very trivial considerations. Have you come across a word called ‘Calling’? Calling means the work that calls out to you. A work that beckons you, that says “come, it’s so loving, Its so attractive, you want to do it” You want to do it, even if you are not paid anything. You say High salary, I am saying “Choose the work that you would do even without getting any salary”.
Imagine what kind of work that would be which you are ready to do even without being paid? Now, if that work can be your life, then life is beautiful. If that work can be your life, then life is beautiful. And only such work deserves to be your life. Only such work deserves to be taken up. You must find out your calling. You must find out what really beckons you.
What do you mean by stability? When you say, “I want stable work.” what do you mean by that?
Usually what people mean by that is that there should be a sense of security, that the job must not go away, that I feel protected, that my source of livelihood, my monthly salary is secure and no one can take it away. But when you really love what you do, you do not seek security. Security is about future. Security says “What will happen tomorrow?” When you are really engaged in your work, really drowned in it, then you have no space left to worry about the future, tomorrow.
You say “This day is so fulfilling, there is so much in it. Let me first experience this fully, everything is overflowing. Let me get into this fully. Who has the time to think about the future? Who wants to be secure? Even the thought of security, even the thought of future does not enter the mind. So, who wants stability? Are you trying to understand or am I saying something that is totally beyond you? As you are saying as a fresher, what should be looked for?
You are in a very lucky position as a fresher. You don’t have too much baggage of the past. You can make a new beginning. You have not been weighed down in duties and obligations. This is the time when you must find out, “What will make my life worthwhile? What is it that makes me come alive? What is it that starts making my heart beats faster. What is it that makes me forget all the worries and concerns in the world? What is it that calls me as a lover?” And then you should give yourself to that.
And even if that happens to be that the society calls stupid, do not worry. It may be the most stupid thing that really really calls you, give yourself fully to it. Do not say that now I am an engineer, How can I do this work? Or did I study Engineering for four years to paint? Or to sing? or to become a school teacher? If teaching kids what fascinates you, why not? If being in a village and working there calls you, why not?
I was talking your batchmates in the morning session and I asked them, “What are Barista, Cafe coffee day, Starbucks, except chaiwala(Tea Vendor) and coffeewala(Coffee Vendor)? But this chaiwala and coffeewala is now a multinational company.” I asked them What prevents you from opening a small juice shop? What prevents you from opening a small juice shop? Only you stand in your way. Only you are your own obstacle. You will say what will happen to my position and respectability? See we all know, we are into engineering because of miscellaneous reasons. Right? We are not into engineering for reasons of love. We are not into engineering because engineering is our life. We are into engineering because of X, Y, Z reasons.
Alright, something happened in the past. Let’s not worry too much about that, but let not that past become a baggage on the present. Something happened three years, four years back, you chose a particular stream, now don’t tell yourself because I have chosen that stream, Hence I must live with it all lifelong. It’s not a compulsion, please. There is no compulsion at all.
What do you do when you board a wrong train? You have boarded a wrong train and the train has moved, what will you do? Do you say that since I have boarded this train so let me go to all the way till the train goes and the train might be of two thousand kilometers journey? Do you say that? Or do you say “When the next station comes, I will get down.” What do you say? It is possible that you boarded the wrong train. Now just because you have boarded the wrong train, don’t say that I have already covered a hundred kilometers, let me cover two thousand kilometers more. I have given four years to this, so let me give my entire life to this. What kind of argument is this? It is a stupid argument. Right? I have given four years to this, so let me give forty more years to this. It is a stupid thing to say.
Alright, get down at the next station. Life is long, take care of it. And you have only one life, it’s precious. So, you have come to that stage where you would be making important decisions. You all should be careful, extremely careful.
Anything that is a part of your background or your history cannot be a right consideration in choosing a vocation. You cannot say, I come from such and such background, so I must have a government job. You cannot say, that I am the son of a businessman. So, I will necessarily go and handle my father’s business. Your background cannot determine your present. The background is gone, finished, its past. And you are alive to live which is not gone, which is waiting, throbbing, alive. Are you getting what I am trying to say?
I have seen too many instances of that kind, that because I boarded the wrong train, so I went right from Kashmir till Kanyakumari. And why did you go there? Because I boarded the wrong train. It is never too late to start afresh, never too late. And no work is small. And reputation means nothing, opinions of others mean nothing. Your life is your life, one, single, precious life, that is there to live. Are you understanding this? Is this going down with you?
Discover your calling, not just a job, a calling. A calling is something very very different from a job. Discover your calling. Jobs, there are many, nobody remains unemployed for very long. Sooner than later, one gets a job but Calling is something that very few people get. Find out your calling. That’s what makes life worth living.
Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session video: Big fat salary, or stable job? || Acharya Prashant (2013)
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